Two young fashion editors who work for Mademoiselle magazine were "on location" in Salt Lake City recently.

Linda Branting and Jacqueline Rushton came to town to offer timely beauty tips and instruct local women - especially career women - in the art of wardrobe building for fall.Salt Lake City was just one stop on an extensive tour that Mademoiselle staffers are making this autumn. Major cities all across the country are being visited and makeovers are being conducted on audience volunteers. The most outstanding success stories will be featured in upcoming issues of the magazine.

Linda, who has been with the magazine for 12 years, is based in Los Angeles. She's West Coast editor for the publication and serves as a liaison between that area and the East Coast, where Mademoiselle has its editorial offices. In her position, she works closely with retailers and manufacturers in developing new ways to attract the young fashion customer.

Jacqueline, who joined the staff a year ago, is based in Manhattan. She covers a nine-state territory making fashion presentations and selling promotional packages to retailers.

We spoke with the editors before their Salt Lake show (it was staged at Nordstrom's in the Crossroads Plaza). And they emphasized that women are going to love the fashions for fall '88. The crazy clothes and ultra-short hemlines that were all the rage last year have disappeared from the scene. This autumn there's a completely different mood in the air.

Fashion has returned to elegance and refinement. The clothes that are being touted by designers this time around are wearable and practical. And options is the key word.

This season, according to Linda and Jacqueline, all kinds of wonderful styles are in the marketplace. Consider skirts, for example. Last year at this time, short was the message. The whole apparel industry, it seemed, was promoting the mini. And woe be unto you if your legs couldn't stand the exposure or you just didn't like the sexy, sassy silhouette.

Now, all that has changed.

"When women ask us what's in for fall as far as hemlines go, we tell them every length," stressed Linda. "The whole point is to wear what suits you and what you like. In our opinion, it's a far more sensible approach."

So, then, just about anything and everything goes in relation to skirts. Styles that end just above or at the knee. Styles that dip below and hems that go down - clear down - almost to the ankles. There are narrow silhouettes, fuller cuts, wrap skirts and skirts with high-rise waists.

"Everything's out there," said Jacqueline. "It's exciting."

Perhaps the most exciting pieces of apparel coming into the stores are jackets. Indeed, according to the editors, jackets are the pivots around which everything else rotates this season.

The options in jackets, just like the options in skirts, are many. A woman can go short, as in cropped to the waist; or she can go long, as in ending below the hipline. But one thing unites most of the diverse jacket styles this fall, and that's shaping. The boxy, mannish silhouette doesn't look quite right this season. Designers have put new emphasis on the feminine waistline, and the fitted blazer that has a modified hourglass shape is in the spotlight.

Another thing that's different about jackets for fall: the shoulders. The the heavy, exaggerated padding that was popular a while back has toned down and softened up. The line now is far more natural and the impression is rounded and gentle, not squared and harsh.

As for colors, the brights have it! Mademoiselle reports that autumn's going to be one of the most colorful fashion seasons on record with fuchsia, blue, green, yellow and purple adding dash to dreary days. Purple, by the way, is one of the freshest and most important shades running through the collections of top designers. Also important: black and white, when interpreted in bold houndstooth patterns.

Houndstooth patterns turn up everywhere - in jackets, as we have mentioned; in skirts of all lengths and in trousers. And trousers, certainly, are playing a major role.

Many of the pants now being shown feature a generously cut leg. But, if wide legs don't seem to work on your body, remember fall's key word. Options.

You can opt for skin-tight slacks with stirrups. You can go for the classic pleated front trouser with more traditional pant legs. You can buy pegged legs. Choice is the name of the game.

One thing almost every woman will want to choose this fall: the crisp white blouse. Dozens of styles are available, and they can instantly spruce up suits and slacks that already are in your wardrobe, according to the editors.

What about accessories?

"At the magazine, we're crazy about suede," said Jacqueline. "Suede shoes, suede belts, suede bags, suede jewelry and hair ornaments. And I'm not just talking the traditional blacks and browns. Colored suede, in really bright shades, is all the rage for fall."

Bright pocket scarves are making news, too, as are scarves in all shapes and sizes.

Big pins in gold tones are fall essentials, and so are fun and chunky charm bracelets, lots of chains mixed together and jewelry that features colored stones.

Indeed, there are so many choices in clothes and accessories this autumn that there's only one problem. And that's how to choose! Nobody, unfortunately, can buy it all, wonderful though that would be. So we asked the Mademoiselle editors to edit the vast array down to size for the young career woman who's just starting out on the job.

Their suggestions:

- A wonderful pair of black pants in a great fabric like wool gabardine. Rather than choose one of the trendy styles, the editors say it makes more sense to select a classic cut. That way the pants are going to remain stylish for many seasons to come.

- A classic black skirt in a length that's the most flattering to your proportions and suitable to your position.

- A white shirt. (It will add class to both pants and skirt.)

- A smart jacket that will work with all these pieces - probably a black and white houndstooth check.

- A wide black suede belt.

- Black suede pumps.

"These are investment pieces - a core wardrobe that a career woman can build on," explained Linda. "As the winter goes on, I'd suggest adding some turtlenecks, especially a black one, and some beautiful scarves and jewelry. When we do wardrobe building in our shows and seminars across the country, we often tell women to play they're packing for a trip. When you go on a trip, it pays to take key pieces that will work in a variety of ways - color-coordinated items that will all go with the same accessories. It's also the best way to plan a really workable career wardrobe."

How about the editors - what are they buying for their own personal career wardrobes this fall?

Jackets!

Linda has purchased a short purple wool crepe that she wears with a chartreuse blouse and black pants. (It was the outfit she wore the morning of the Salt Lake show.)

As for Jacqueline - well, there's this dreamy long purple jacket back in New York. She's got it on hold!